My character in Fallout: New Vegas should host his own show on the Travel Channel. Many of the network’s programs follow some expert traveling from country to country under some common theme. Former chef Anthony Bourdain travels around the world to taste new, delicious foods, and NFL linebacker Dhani Jones travels to challenge professionals at their own games. But even though each show has its own unique theme, they’re all basically about the same thing: meeting new people and learning about their cultures.
My character could globetrot with a documentary crew under the theme of fixing problems. In that regard, I guess he’d be more like Ty Pennington on Extreme Home Makeover than a Travel Channel host. Either way, he’s already had a lot of experience in a post-apocalyptic Nevada. He helped a cult of ghouls launch themselves into space, he raised a crashed B-29 Bomber from the bottom of a lake, and he turned a robot into a prostitute, among a hundred other things.
Throughout his travels, he also absorbed the histories and cultures of many different peoples, which is what really matters for a Travel Channel show. It’s also what sets New Vegas apart from Fallout 3.
Your Weapon is Choice
Sure, Fallout 3 had a good amount of exploration and a good number of people to meet. But New Vegas takes it to a new level with all of its factions. You have the Great Khans, raiders that have adopted the nomadic lifestyle of Mongolians from the time of Genghis Khan even though they have nothing to herd. And then there are the Kings, a gang comprised of Elvis impersonators that runs Freeside, the poorer outskirts of the Vegas Strip. There are several more – some major, others minor – but they all have rich histories and cultures of their own.
They all also have existing relationships with each other. In New Vegas, you can exploit those relationships to your own ends, or forge new ones through violence or diplomacy. You can support a faction and rise with it, or completely ignore it. Depending on the choices you make, you can even destroy a group of people, but I don’t think the Travel Channel would approve.
You can’t, of course, do it all. Every decision you make with a faction has some effect on your relationship with the other factions. One decision can result in an immediate breakup, while another might result in some small, not-yet-significant change in your reputation. It all reminds me of Obsidian Entertainment’s previous game, Alpha Protocol. The decisions you make and the factions you align with determine your course of action and the game’s ending.
Second Time Around
You do, however, have the option to ignore all factions, for the most part, and pursue your own story of revenge. New Vegas begins with a man in a checkered suit named Benny putting a bullet in your head. When you miraculously recover, you have no recollection of anything before your apparent demise. Naturally, you set off after Benny.
It’s Fallout 3 – with culture.
Too familiar, it lacks the “wow” factor of its predecessor.